I had a black Huffy BMX bike when I was a boy. I got it for Christmas when I was nine years old. My father took me to Child World in Quincy Center one day to pick it out. I was pretty excited to finally get my own bike, as up until this point I would have to steal other kids bikes when they weren’t using them. And they were always using them. So the majority of my bike riding was done in the dead of night, by myself. Which got pretty lonely. But it also allowed me to get my foot in the door to the crime fighting business. So I considered it an even trade-off.
Getting my own bike not only meant I would be able to ride a bicycle during daylight hours just like Little Lord Fauntleroy did, but it would also greatly reduce the likelihood of my getting punched in the snotlocker for stealing other boys bikes. So when I picked out my Huffy, I was excited to get it home and take that sucker out for a spin. Probably do some bunny hops, pop a couple wheelies, maybe do a backflip or six, all while keeping an eye out for ne’er-do-wells and shiftless layabouts. Shysters and scam artists running their short sales and long cons on my unsuspecting neighborhood. I was a very mature little boy for someone who grew into a very immature older man.
Dad had other ideas though. Instead of taking the bike home that day, he thought it would be much more fun if we left it at Child World on lay-away for six months, where I couldn’t ride it, or sit on it, or see it. He was wrong. My way would have been far more exciting. But that’s how shit got done in the 70’s & 80’s. People did shit to make their children miserable, on purpose, for sport. They would then invite their friends over and they would all drink highballs, and Whiskey Sours, and Vodka Gimlets, and Tom Collinseseses. Then they all would drunkenly point and laugh at the uncontrollably weeping, yet still incredibly and beautifully in tune child ,while they forced him to do dead-on Wolfman Jack and Elvis Presley impersonations while standing on the coffee table in the living room during Happy Hour. I mean, so I’ve heard that that’s what always used to happen to that kid. Poor kid.
When I finally did get the Huffy home I was pretty much the coolest kid in the world. You have to remember that I was nine so my world was not very big. I think I knew about fourteen people when I was nine and six of them lived in my house. Also I’m counting myself. So I was the coolest kid in my admittedly small world. But that was still pretty fucking cool compared to the kid who came in fifth. I forget his name, that’s how unpopular he was in my world. I named the bike PR Huffinstuff and sometimes I called him David HassleHuff and we pretty much became best friends. I don’t want to sound like every other shitstick out there that’s constantly prattling on about how much they loved their childhood bicycle, but I would have taken a bullet for PR Huffinstuff, and he for me. Yeah, fuckin’ word is bond!
I rode that bike with immense pride, doing all kinds of daring feats in homage to Evel Knievel. I never jumped over Snake River Canyon, but I guess technically neither did Evel Knievel. I was prone to riding no hands from time to time now and again, just to give passers-by a thrill. It’s nice for people going through a rough day when they get to forget all their problems and live vicariously through a young boy and his bike. Even if for just a moment. Which is probably more than enough time for you to be staring at a young boy you don’t know riding his bike. His eyes are up there, pervert. Stranger Danger!!
One hot summer day I was riding back to my house from the store. Needless to say I was shirtless, because nothing screams borderline child neglect like letting your pasty white half-naked offspring ride around on his bike all afternoon on a blisteringly sunny June day without a liberal slathering of SPF Irish on his delicate epidermis. The street that I lived on had three hills on it. I was feeling particularly brave and athletic that day, partly due to the mind-numbing ignorance of youth, mostly due to the advanced heat stroke. As I went down the first hill, I decided to do it no hands. As soon as I let go of the handlebars I regretted that decision. The whole front of the bike started violently shaking and I couldn’t remedy the situation. I got about fifteen or twenty feet down the hill, the handlebars spun and I flew headfirst over them and slid my beautiful bare-chested boy body with the third degree sunburn across hot sandy asphalt. Just like my hero Evel. Sort off. I mean, I didn’t do it for the money like him. With me it’s more about the love of the game and also about a greater love of doing stupid shit.
After that day, the Huffy, and I were never the same. Neither were my nipples. We still saw each other, but the relationship had changed. We were somehow distant even whilst I was ballsdeep on its seat, or it was seatdeep in my balls. Whichever one of those is closer to the King’s English is how I shall choose to phrase it. We hardly laughed together anymore, me and David HassleHuff. All of a sudden I wasn’t sure I could even engage in a spirited debate in defense of PR Huffinstuffs’ name, let alone take a bullet for him. I was conflicted, as any boy would be in the same situation.
The relationship came to a screeching halt a few weeks later when a rich kid down the street got a brand new Diamondback BMX bike. He told his parents he wanted one and they went out and got him one. That day. I remember looking at that bike and being sick with jealousy. This thing glinted in the sunlight like it was carved from some type of material that would reflect any sunlight that was cast upon it into another direction. I looked at my piece of shit bike and I thought, “I hate that fucking thing”. But I didn’t really hate the Huffy. I hated what the Huffy represented. The cheap bike that was on lay-away for six months. When put next to the expensive bike bought and paid for on a childs whim, it seemed like crap. But I know now that he wasn’t crap. No, PR Huffinstuff was the shit.
The lesson as always….Rich kids suck.
Reblogged this on Christopher De Voss and commented:
It’s Reblog Thursday. As you get older the Reblog Thursday’s just fly by…This one is about getting a bike, or crime fighting, or crime fighting on a bike…I’m not sure. It’s mostly about a childhood memory that most middle class children of the 80’s share.
Hilarious story – I loved it. (I had a bike once when I was little – someone stole it….hhmmm)
When I worked at a preschool, I had a 4 yr old challenge me to a race. He gave himself a shiny red corvette and handed me a beat to hell, faded, arm chewed off, guy on a motorcycle…he looked soooo smug, until I said, “Cool – you gave me Evel Knievel – see that missing arm? He lost that jumping through a hoop of fire! Burnt it clean off and still finished the race.” He could do that thing with his eybrows, where one shoots up higher than the other…I’m pretty sure he was thinking – Damn, this bitch is crazy.
I remember Evel being the coolest thing I ever saw. I wanted to be him. Although I also wanted to be Fonzie, Mork from Ork and Vinnie Barbarino too. I was very conflicted. Hahaha
Hahaha…I think that’s great and funny as hell. My friend and I would play “Happy Days”…..Fonzie was a dreamboat….but I was in L.o.v.e. with Chachi…hated Joanie…we would pretend to be Pinky and Leather Tuscadero…
That commercial is the most 80’s thing ever. Atari! Sweet Lord, it’s Atari!
I used to love Child World as a kid. I think they got pushed out of the toy business by Toys R Us. That Geoffrey the Giraffe could be quite the intimidator.
I had never heard of them. We had Toys R Us, Kay Bee, and Kiddie City
Hahaha, I had surgeryyesterday and I’ve been pretty doped up. So I got paid by the word. In percocets. Mmmmmm, potassium.
I also wrote it all one-handed.
I like me some TV games.
Who doesn’t? I loved me some Atari 2600. Well, the Sears & Roebuck version of Atari 2600. With the fake wood paneling.
I had such an awesome relationship with valium the last time I gave birth that I was forced to stop having children.
Loved your post, as always. You’ve got to write a book. Like, got got got. And then you have to give me 10%. Best teenage male protagonist voice ever.
Thanks Stacie. I’ve heard that receiving valium prescriptions is the second biggest reason ladies are having babies today. The biggest reason is still unprotected sex though. As it should be.
Wow, BIll, what an ordeal you had with your Huffy! That was quite an accident. When I was a kid I got one week with a bike, and that was it. I had to learn or else I was doomed forever. Rich kids suck, yeah. Love your story. Hope you’re doing okay, post surgery.
Thanks Amy. I’m doing well. A little sore but that’s where the painkillers come into play. That was some serious road rash I got that day. Did someone take your bike away after a week? That was mean of them.
We were so poor my parents borrowed bikes for a week, and one week only. The family was on vacation and let us use them! I did learn to ride a bike in a week.
[…] Bill McMorrow: A Tale Of A Boy And His Bike […]
Sounds like a sweet bike. Your falling out with it reminds me of the day I learned to ride a bike and took it up to the top of a big hill. Yeah…me and the road got a lot better acquainted.
The good thing about falling out with the Huffy was that I never felt bad about ghostriding it again. Hahaha
Every bike i’ve ever owned, from teh little green schwinn with the hard rubber tires, to a 12 speed with bells and whistles has been airborne (with me in some for of “onboard”) on it.
Gravity is a harsh mistress.
Physics, doubly so.
It’s amazing what kinds of shit you’ll do as a kid, just because you think you’re invincible. I remember some of the big jumps we used to go over. Kids are dumb.
Great story! I inherited my cousin´s cast-off bike for my first ride when i was eleven.
While all the other kids got shiny, new, drop-handle machines with names like Palm Beach, and Blue Steel, mine looked like something Noah´s kids rode onto the Ark. Still, I loved it.
Once I fixed a lamp to it that had a flashing red dome on top. It took me quite some time to realise people didn´t think I was a real cop. That´s when the dome on top of my neck began flashing red.
Thanks Bryan. Just getting a bike of your own was a big deal back then, as I’m sure it is now. We used to all ride over to the Western Auto and drool over the nubby handle grips and shiny aluminum nozzle caps and other BMX paraphernalia. The kid across the street from me had a bad ass chopper, with the handle bars way up high. Good times.
Great bike story! I remember those days of “Lay-A-Way”. Everything we ever owned lived at the store for at least 6 months before we got it. It was pure torture.
And you are right, rich kids suck, they always have.
Thanks. We also used to get a lot of stuff through Fingerhut which was a catalog mail order type thing. I don’t know if it still exists, I really should have googled it first. I think my father might have worked for them at one point. Like an Avon lady, but a dude.I’m probably totally wrong about that.
I’m pretty sure my sister still orders stuff from Fingerhut. I use to peruse her catalogues when ever I visited her in the US.
You’ve made me smile, which is no mean feat!
And you in turn have done the same. Thank you.
I had a19 86 huffy in red from the k-mart it was the coolest bmx on earth i was 7 , then soon after found out anything from the k-mart was junk , you had to have a GT , DYNO, or diamondback to be cool! Well f%#k em I now am 32 and ride a bitchin subrosa bmx that i bought outta dans comp.
That kid with the Diamondback was a dick. Hahaha, thanks for giving it a read.